New York, United States

Program Director

At AKQA, we believe in the imaginative application of art and science to create beautiful ideas, products and services. With an entrepreneurial and collaborative approach, we design adaptive digital services and applications that capture the imagination, delivering impressive returns for our clients.

Our culture celebrates diversity, hard work and fun. We are passionate about our craft, working together to create a better future, and ensuring we have an unfair share of the best talent in New York.

The Program Director will supervise a team of Project Managers to perform many of the tasks described below – successful candidates will have a firm command and understanding of these responsibilities themselves and will also need to perform some of these tasks directly as circumstances require. 


  • Scope Ownership: Undefined project brief(s), high profile/high risk to business. Demonstrates ability to write accurate, complex scopes (SOWs and Change Orders) and project plans independently. Able to scope and competitively price a new business opportunity within the defined parameters (budget, timing, deliverables) - even if it is work that is not familiar. Approximately $5M – $7M portfolio & management of 1 or more financial models
  • Scope Complexity: Highly skilled at identifying issues and risks in the moment and can drive mitigation strategies on the spot with the team and program management leadership. Includes all stages of the project life cycle and program lifecycle (incl. annual funding proposal). Involves multiple disciplines, stakeholders, partners and vendors with complex interdependencies. Includes all stages of the project life cycle and program lifecycle (incl. annual funding proposal). May manage 1 or more delivery methods
  • Project Role: Performs responsibilities and meets expectations independently to a high standard, on any project in the studio (may require guidance given new program responsibilities). Provides oversight on projects, ensuring the PM or Sr. PM is actively managing the project, resources and finances. More actively involved for complex, multi-phased engagements. Steps in during times of critical risk, complexity and opportunity. Supported by PM(s). Manages direct reports. Distills & shares best practices with the team regularly. Helps define & refine the cross-functional working processes as applicable 
  • Planning: Develop program approach, budget, master contract, staffing plan and roadmap. Design day-to-day operating plan to manage program success. Define high-level approaches for projects
  • Resource Management: Creates staffing scenarios and provides recommendations for the best path forward at critical points of decision. Monitors project metrics of PMs through direct report relationships and helps them to mitigate staffing issues
  • Financial Management: Creates financial scenarios and provides recommendations for the best path forward at critical points of decision. Monitors project metrics of PMs through direct report relationships and helps them to mitigate financial issues. Generates burn reports, analysis of trends, and revenue forecasts 
  • Functional Understanding: Begins to take responsibility for training on PM methodology at AKQA. Lead all stages of program lifecycle and accountable for program delivery. Responsible for short and long-term program status, staffing, revenue and billing. Accountable for project management outputs for accuracy and health
  • Relationships: Viewed as a point of escalation and a point of contact for when things get rocky. In complex, multi-phased engagements. AKQA core internal team. AKQA discipline, resource and finance leads. AKQA program leadership. AKQA Senior Staff. Senior client stakeholders, Senior Delivery (i.e., PMO, Procurement). Senior 3rd party/agencies, vendor, AKQA global partners
  • Program Responsibilities: Helps shape the strategies driving the assignment. Understands the "why" behind the assignment and can clearly articulate the nuances of how our solutions work to both internal and external stakeholders. General coverage for Project lead. Shape, present and gain approval on program delivery approach and status. Lead implementation and change management. Facilitate contract and financial negotiations and approvals. Report and manage monthly revenue. Assess project success quarterly and yearly, identify and implement improvements
  • Domain Knowledge: Builds experience in one or more industries or capabilities
  • Agency Offering: Has established relationships with most (if not all) discipline practice leads across our core capabilities and has a foundational level understanding of all AKQA service areas
  • Practice Growth: Builds relationships with other Program Directors, Program Managers and other Director level discipline leads, seen as a trusted go-to advisor regarding all things related to scope, process, workflow, team structures and more. Consultant for department and support of initiatives. Interview candidates. Manager, up to 4 PMs. Informed and appropriate use of leadership announcements (may include some confidential information). Advocate for studio needs. General coverage for Director of Project Management
  • Leadership: Holds team accountable with ease. Guides alignment and identifies solutions. Seen as a leader by the team and as a point of escalation by the client. Beginning to lean into department leadership and mentorship.
  • Team Management: Ensures direct reports are managing teams effectively and caring for them appropriately. Serves as an escalation point for performance issues and is comfortable addressing directly as a first step before escalating further. Effectively manages team morale. Has experience managing and developing large delivery teams
  • Satisfaction: Ensure clients and project teams are satisfied with project delivery
  • AKQA Competencies:
    • Innovation 
      • Vision - Can see the potential of ideas and helps teams shape the program of work to make them better and achievable. Foresees how projects might grow and integrate into the wider program of work. 
      • Champions Change - Drives forward and encourages new ideas and approaches within the program of work and with direct reports. Supports Program Directors in producing business cases for change. Able to implement and maintain innovation in working processes within a program of work. 
      • Innovator - Challenges why we’re doing something and ensures it's the 'right thing'. Creates an environment that challenges traditional thinking within their program of work, inspiring direct reports/team members to work smart and look beyond the usual approach. Originates ideas for program improvements.
    • Service 
      • Discipline - Voices independent opinion and has a clear and focused point of view and drive for the right decision. Helps teams and direct reports focus and keep things simple. 
      • Builds Relationships - Builds a happy team and creates strong and enduring client relationships within their program of work. Recruiting, retaining and developing top talent within delivery. 
      • Leadership - Motivates and mentors project and Delivery team members with a shift to line management responsibility. Is a trusted advisor, deals calmly with crises to provide solutions. Builds confidence with their program team and inspires everyone to do their best work. 
    • Quality 
      • Passion - Exemplifies drive for perfection and delivery of the best work. Helps guide product quality within their program of work. Understands when processes can adapt. 
      • Delivery Management - Balances the day-to-day people and project management with forward planning and strategic direction of the program. Accountable alongside client services for forecasting accuracy and project EACs within their program of work. 
      • Communication - Communicates with gravitas, is perceived as a key influencer within the program and account group and by clients. Leads the client conversations instead of, or alongside client services. 
    • Thought 
      • Judgement - Balances all opinions, Able to own and make difficult and timely decisions for the good of the program, both independently and alongside Client Services. 
      • Insight - Uses experience and knowledge to help the team identify the right solutions. Supports the Program Director in introducing new ideas and service lines. Understands when strategic support is needed. 
      • Strategic Direction - Contributes to the overall strategic direction for the program. 
      • Entrepreneurial - Asks 'What's next?' Perceives opportunities to extend AKQA's remit within a client organization and influence the project or program of work. Finds efficiencies within the current delivery process. 


  • At least 10 years of experience managing multi-disciplined delivery within an agency or consulting environment, implementing innovative, interactive and consumer-focused solutions. 
  • Demonstrate a proven experience of managing a multi-disciplined service delivery function in an agency or consulting environment. 
  • Experienced in delivering innovative, interactive and consumer focused solutions. 
  • Experienced at adapting an existing delivery process to a clients’ needs and process. 
  • Effective communication skills at all levels, (presentation, written, verbal). 
  • Strong organization skills; responsive to colleagues for overall efficiency and effectiveness. 
  • Ability to build strong relationships with peers and external customer staff, and the ability to achieve results under potentially difficult circumstances. 
  • Ability to work with client service teams in successfully pitching for new business. 
  • Ability to make sound commercial and financial decisions, quickly understand problems, propose solutions and manage client situations. 
  • Knowledge of agile delivery approach, and how to manage work and teams within the methodology. 
  • Ability to work well under pressure and to have an objective focused and positive approach and be comfortable working independently. Is self-motivated and self-driven. 
  • Strong customer service ethos, a commitment to quality and the will to constantly drive improvements. 
  • Commitment to high standards of excellence and integrity. 
  • Well-developed planning, analysis and organizational skills. 
  • Possess good business acumen and sound judgment. Be entrepreneurial, with a collaborative, supportive and team-based approach. Eager to provide insight to and receive feedback. 
  • An accomplished communicator who gains the confidence of the business; credible and experienced at operating at all levels within. 
  • Negotiates well, listens actively and makes compelling points. Able to build strong relationships with peers and business counterparts.

AKQA is an Equal Opportunities Employer, we believe that diversity is vital to AKQA’s ability to provide our clients with the best recommendations and are committed to fostering a varied and inclusive work environment. Your race, color, ancestry, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability or veteran status have no bearing on our hiring decisions. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation, please let us know.


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Program Director — New York


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